My turn: Large gap between Miller's promises, rhetoric

Posted: Monday, August 23, 2010

As a registered Republican, I receive piles of campaign literature from candidates. This year, U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller has asked me to vote for him in the interest of securing new leadership and solving a litany of problems. Joe Miller is the kind of candidate that has a plan for every problem. He's also quick to rip Alaska incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, for a variety of perceived slights and failures.

A review of Miller's campaign promises and revved-up rhetoric illustrates a huge gap between what he promises and reality. Candidate Joe Miller makes much of his rugged, independent values and lines up a bunch of Outside activists to support his contention he is the right guy to serve Alaska in the Senate. None of it makes sense.

Joe Miller fails to persuade me that he is ready for political prime time in two ways. First, his supposed solutions are mostly irrelevant to Alaska or simply the latest incantation of the hot-button issues lifted from ultra-partisan websites cooked up Outside. Most of these are issues like the Manhattan mosque caper and are detached from the every day realities most Alaskans confront.

Secondly, having failed to come up with a positive agenda that will improve life in Alaska, Miller elects to slash at Lisa Murkowski and portray her service to Alaska as harmful.

Miller's attacks on Murkowski are relentless. He implies she is weak on national security, soft on gun ownership and something akin to a tax-and-spend Democrat. There is no real evidence to support Miller's hysterical claims Murkowski is somehow out-of-touch with Alaskan values. Miller's claims he is a sound leader rest on a highly burnished resume that is woefully short on genuine experience where he has actually delivered tangible results in the political arena.

Murkowski doesn't get a blind endorsement from me in this race. She came to be our senator in an unusual way. Appointed, not elected at first, Murkowski has subsequently won election on her own and delivered for Alaska for more than eight years. Murkowski has overcome the initial dismay many in Alaska harbored when she was appointed. She has also earned a large degree of respect for her work on behalf of Alaska. Murkowski's efforts to increase energy development in Alaska have been tireless during her tenure and clearly supported by most Alaskans. Her efforts to provide basic services to Bush Alaska and bring home significant community development funding for urban Alaska are obvious and in the best tradition of the now departed and celebrated Ted Stevens.

Murkowski has worked in a bipartisan way on energy and natural resource issues that are important to Alaskans. Joe Miller carps about Murkowski's work on the energy issue claiming she supports the so-called cap-and-trade energy proposal. Nothing could be further from the truth

I don't agree with every position Murkowski has taken while serving as our senator. Still, over the time Murkowski has served us in Congress, she has learned from mistakes made and become an increasingly effective leader.

Joe Miller hasn't given me any reason to endorse his quest to be a Senator. Instead, Miller has given me several reasons to continue to support Murkowski. I am sticking with Murkowski's experience, voice on the Senate Appropriations Committee and steady presence back in Washington.

The truth is, being a senator is a brutally hard job with more grief than reward on most days. The last thing Alaska needs is a self-proclaimed "leader" without a clue on how to listen or serve our State. That's why I'm voting for Murkowski in my primary election next Tuesday.

• Geldhof is a Juneau attorney

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